Ottawa Magazine - - BYWARD MARKET -

Set in­side one of the ByWard Mar­ket’s grand­est build­ings, Eigh­teen’s soar­ing ceil­ings, walk-in hearth, and lux­u­ri­ous black-and-sil­ver in­te­rior make an el­e­gant set­ting for en­joy­ing re­fined food with creative flair.

Ex­ec­u­tive chef David God­soe is busy pro­duc­ing the clas­sic surf and turf: steak and seafood. Serv­ing nos­tal­gia well while car­ry­ing the torch for­ward, he pre­sents the tra­di­tional — a deep-tast­ing demi-glace for the beef ten­der­loin, a creamy sauce améri­caine for the lob­ster. But he also in­tro­duces twists — roasted duck breast is tarted up with a sweet-sour ju­niper agrodolce and ac­com­pa­nied by a sen­su­ous ril­lette frit­ter, its crispy shell giv­ing way to a ten­der in­te­rior.

Though God­soe has a sharp fo­cus on the mains, ac­com­pa­ni­ments aren’t over­looked: spicy may­on­naise and tiny sweet, zesty Peru­vian pep­pers called sweet drops. Small plates like melt-in-the-mouth pink beef carpac­cio are per­fect with pick­led shal­lots and deep-fried ca­pers — you could eat only that and be con­tent if there weren’t so many other en­tic­ing of­fer­ings. Eigh­teen’s meaty dish of tagli­atelle and roasted king oys­ter mush­rooms, for in­stance, which is en­riched with nu­tri­tional yeast and cashew but­ter. Like­wise, a crème brûlée for dessert could be dis­missed as con­ven­tional if it weren’t for its or­angey creami­ness and the crunch of caramelized crust.

The plea­sure of the food is en­hanced by the re­fresh­ing pro­fes­sion­al­ism shown by the wait staff — dou­bly im­por­tant when nav­i­gat­ing Eigh­teen’s ex­ten­sive wine list.

With op­u­lent dishes, lux­u­ri­ous but taste­ful decor, and so­phis­ti­cated ser­vice, Eigh­teen is a din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence al­most un­par­al­leled in the city.

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